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Houston Texans likely to trade J.J. Watt in 2021

Houston Texans: J.J. Watt
Dec 6, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt (99) runs onto the field before the game against the Indianapolis Colts at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Texans have a problem and it’s not just Deshaun Watson who may want out. Now, amid circulating trade rumors surrounding their star quarterback, future Hall of Fame edge rusher J.J. Watt could now seek a trade this offseason.

Watt, the most beloved athlete and person in Houston, called out the Texans for their effort during a ‘trash’ four-win season. As the 31-year-old enters the latter stage of his legendary career, one that has been limited by injuries, it seems he is prepared to be the next NFL star who seeks a way out of Houston.

The only difference, unlike his friend and teammate, the Texans may grant his wish.

Houston Texans expected to accommodate J.J. Watt’s trade request

Even during the team’s awful 2020 season, Watt hinted that he wanted to play elsewhere. In the year when he finally managed to stay healthy, playing in all 16 games, the Houston Texans created plenty of drama to waste another season in Watt’s career.

Even before the season began, Watt had to deal with an organization that didn’t seem to know what it was doing. Not only did Houston keep Bill O’Brien after his disastrous coaching performance in the playoffs, but they also named him general manager. A short time later, O’Brien traded away star receiver DeAndre Hopkins in a move that NFL executives and fans continue to ridicule.

Things didn’t get any better when the games began. After starting the season 0-3, Watt reportedly got into an argument with O’Brien. Houston fired its head coach/GM after the Week 4 loss, which eased tension in the locker room, but the team still finished 4-8 the rest of the way.

NFL rumors: Deshaun Watson willing to never play for Houston Texans again?

Watt’s name was floated in trade rumors before the in-season deadline, but a deal never came to fruition. While much of the spotlight on the Texans this offseason has centered on Deshaun Watson’s anger with the organization, he reportedly isn’t alone with that feeling.

Related: J.J. Watt trade a ‘virtual certainty’ next offseason?

According to Sports Radio 610’s John P. Lopez, the Texans are leaning towards accommodating J.J. Watt’s private request to be traded. The situation is quiet for now, but team sources told Lopez that the NFL world will soon be hearing from the three-time Defensive Player of the Year award recipient.

If the Texans are willing to trade Watt, there are a few scenarios that jump out. He will certainly have his eye on playing for a Super Bowl contender. Plenty of teams will be interested, but the Pittsburgh Steelers and Green Bay Packers stand out the most.

Watt, a Wisconsin native, grew up loving the Packers and would likely cherish an opportunity to play with Aaron Rodgers. Plus, with this team looking like a legitimate threat for Super Bowl LV, Green Bay might offer Watt the best odds of winning a title.

On the other hand, he also could be interested in the Steelers. While it’s further away from home, he would become teammates with his brothers T.J. Watt and Derek Watt.

As for the Houston Texans, trading Watt may be in their best interest. Moving him would create $17.5 million in cap space, financial flexibility it needs in an offseason when they are projected to be $17.9 million over the salary cap. Plus, trading him could recoup some draft picks that the organization desperately needs for the 2021 NFL Draft.

If Watt and Watson are traded this offseason, the Texans might struggle to even pull 10,000 fans into NRG Stadium. Moving both stars would also signal the start of a multi-year rebuild, all being done by an organization with a lot of concerns.